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How Robo Advisors Can Help Clean Up Oil Spills

Guest Post By Dr. Samar Habib

While quantum computing may be some way away from having an evident industrial impact, AI algorithms are already changing the face of the financial industry. One of these dramatic changes can be seen in the rise of the Robo Investment Advisor, with companies like Wealthfront, Betterment and Vanguard creating low-risk, consumer-facing stock management platforms, that are leaving traditional brokerages in their dust trail.

At the fraction of the cost of traditional account-keeping fees (a.k.a. low-loading), and the monstrously efficient, actuary-computing superpowers of AI algorithms, it’s hard to imagine what investment banking is going to look like in the next 20 years. And I am still waiting to see what’s going to happen when Quantum Computing is added to the mix.

There is such tremendous world-saving potential behind the socially conscientious implementation of these new platforms in the financial industry. One investment company in particular is showing us the ecologically positive ways with which we can leverage this new technology. While our planet is facing some dire challenges due to overpopulation, pollution, climate change and never-ending wars, you have companies like Swell doing something truly remarkable.

Powered by Plaid, Swell has devised a number of investment portfolios, managed quarterly by fiduciary (i.e. they have only your best interest at heart) AI Algorithms that invest in companies that are cleaning up the negative environmental impact left by outdated industries. Swell’s portfolios include Green Tech, Healthy Living, Disease Eradication, Renewable Energy, Clean Water and Zero Waste.

Most recently, Swell added the Impact 400 portfolio, which invests in public companies that are obtaining their revenue from activities that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. You know, that’s the stuff a modern utopia is made of: no poverty; no hunger; affordable clean energy; gender equality; good education; peace and justice, and more!

I’ve been investing with Swell since April and I am not at all deterred by the current limitations the platform faces. For one thing, Swell gets to select your portfolio investments for you so you don’t have as much say, and for another, there doesn’t seem to be a loss harvesting facility just yet. Swell investors must also have US bank accounts, since it’s not yet able to offer its products and services to foreign investors.

But despite these limitations, the company shows promise in the way it is positioned to resonate with the United Nations’ development goals. And with such forward-thinking altruism and ecologically-sound vision, it should only be a matter of time before Swell really swells up into a global phenomenon that can help democratize planetary ecological governance.  

Who knows, maybe with the right kind of social change through strategic investment by people like you and me, Lockheed Martin will find it more profitable to morph into a space-travel agency for middle-class families. Now that’s a future I wouldn’t mind living in.